Dublin city centre migrant 'tent village' won't return, vows Government (2024)

The Government has vowed it has powers to prevent future tent encampments as almost 300 asylum seekers were removed from Dublin city centre in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said steps will be taken to avoid a repeat of more than 100 tents being placed outside the International Protection Office on Mount Street.

The Government confirmed a joint operation between the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Department of Justice, An Garda Siochana, Dublin City Council,the Office of Public Works and the HSE got underway early yesterday morning.

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Read more: Asylum seekers on Mount Street moved to west Dublin sites

Council workers, some dressed in white overalls, were involved in clean-up efforts to remove the tents and wash down the camp area in and around Mount Street. Those seeking international protection were moved to Citywest and to tented accommodation in Crooksling in Dublin.

The Government said “robust, weather-proof tents” are now in Crooksling. There are also toilets and showers, health services, indoor areas where food is provided, facilities to charge phones and personal devices, access to transport to and from Dublin City Centre, and 24-hour onsite security.

There were previous attempts to move asylum seekers to Crooksling on the St Patrick’s weekend but many ended up returning to Mount Street and repitching their tents. The Government insisted facilities at the site have now improved in the intervening weeks.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, the Tanaiste said the State has powers to prevent asylum seekers’ tents from being re-erected as he argued the facilities on offer in Crooksling are “far better”. Mr Martin said the Government will “discourage very strongly” tents being set up on Mount Street and does “not envisage” a situation where they will.

He said: “The State has, within its powers, the capacity to make sure we don’t have tents back on Mount Street or in streets. The Government is very clear, we cannot have tents on streets adjacent to neighbourhoods and so forth. It is not good for those seeking asylum, it is not good for residents in the area and it creates a lot of tensions which are not acceptable.

“There is a determination on the Government side to use our capacity and powers to make sure it doesn’t occur into the future. The facilities [in Crooksling] are far better. I heard this morning on radio the kinds of conditions that are in Mount Street.

“[It is] completely unacceptable for people to be living in tents on Mount Street with no access to toilets or no access to proper showers or facilities. There’s no comparison, in my view, between the situation of people being in tents on the streets and in an environment or facility like Crooksling that has those facilities."

Taoiseach Simon Harris said the removal of tents marked an “important day” for two reasons. He said: “It was an important day in terms of a humanitarian response to the unacceptable situation people in tents found themselves in on Mount Street.

“But it was also an important day for the laws of our land. This is a country that does have laws. As Taoiseach, I expect those laws to be enforced. Today was about helping people... people may have been moved from Mount Street to better-suited accommodation with sanitary facilities.

“It was also a day saying to people that in a humanitarian crisis, there are still laws. You can’t have a scenario where in a very ad-hoc fashion these tented villages are allowed to develop.

“The operation doesn’t end now. I will expect all of the agency partners to continue working together to respond in what is a challenging, difficult time to meet the humanitarian needs of people, but also to enforce and uphold the laws of this country.”

Minister Donohoe, meanwhile, said while he could not rule out that “on any given night that people who are in difficult circ*mstances might erect a tent” he was “very confident” steps would be taken to “prevent something of that scale happening again”.

Speaking on RTE ’s News at One, Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman confirmed more than 200 asylum seekers had been moved after accommodation “opened up”.

He said: “We are under very significant pressure. We have seen a number of weeks where we’ve been in the mid-400s in terms of arrivals. That is why it is important my Department can continue to bring on additional accommodation both for families but for male applicants as well.”

Mr O’Gorman also confirmed asylum seekers have also been moved to accommodation at a site in Newtownmountkennedy in Wicklow that has been the site of continual protests.

A Government spokesperson said 285 asylum seekers had been bussed from the Mount Street site, 186 to Citywest and the remaining 99 to Crooksling.

The spokesperson said “some” then refused to take up their accommodation upon their arrival.

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Dublin city centre migrant 'tent village' won't return, vows Government (2024)


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